The 8th Desert Hearts festival took place this past weekend at Los Coyotes Indian Reservation. The festival centers itself around music, art, good vibes, and spiritual healing. It has gained a good festival reputation by being such an open community that focuses on enjoying life through music and art. Also, since this event is off grid, it is known as an amazing place to disconnect from society and recharge your spirit. The festival has been growing more and more with every event. This spring festival was it’s biggest yet. The crew was still able to keep it intimate and keep the vibe that the festival has been known for.
This was my first Desert Hearts and I was more than excited to attend. I had been prepping for a few weeks. Part of going to camping music festivals is the mental preparation that takes place weeks in advance. It leads to the excitement and I always consider festival prep part of the experience. It was just Lily (WOLFshoes of OthermusiC) and myself (Ms. Indigo Jones of OthermusiC), but I was still concerned that we wouldn’t be able to fit everything in the car. Somehow, all the camping supplies did fit into my tiny Honda Civic. After packing the car and 3 hours of driving, we were in a car line waiting to enter the festival grounds. We arrived there well before sunset but the wait for the car line was 2+ hours so by the time we entered in dark.
When it came to pick a camping spot, there were many areas to choose from. There were even theme camps – Chronic Kava Camp, Native Alien Camp, and the Animal Kingdom. Many of the tents were pitched close together. As the weekend continued, more people entered and the more crowded it became. We ended up pitching a tent close to the parking lot area by the hill. Many people that arrived at the same time did the same thing. This was because it was less crowded and easier to manage the transportation of camping supplies from the car to the campsite. Our site offered ample room and was far enough from the crowd but close enough that we could still hear the bass and screams from the dance floor.
Upon setting up the camp, we were greeted and welcomed by our neighbors. They were both so cheery and positive that I could have talked to them for hours. I would have too but I had to set up the tent first. The next day I was able to meet more of our neighbors who were full of festival spirit and ready to interact with everyone and anyone.
Over on the dance floor the vibes were even friendlier! I was hugged so many times by random strangers. One man even came up to me and told me that he wished that I had the best weekend of my entire year. There was never one sad face on the dance floor. Everyone respected each other’s space and connected with each other on a personal level. Each person’s positivity made the event special but their creative outfits also facilitated in making the festival feel like an open, carefree, and respectful environment.
ART, YOGA, & WORKSHOPS
There are many aspects that make Desert Hearts it’s own community. In addition to the music and friendly atmosphere, the Desert Hearts crew recognizes that art, yoga, and spiritual healing are essential in order to be connected with each other and the universe. Throughout the main area there were artists working on beautiful and colorful paintings. Some of the art was playful and others glowed in the dark. As you walked to the floor to dance, you would see all of the art. There was even free art being given away.
The workshops and yoga took place off to the side near the parking lot. You could still hear the music but it was away from the crowd. Both yoga and the workshops took place from 10am to 7pm. So many different types of yoga classes were offered. It ranged from sacred roots, to galactivated, to soul searching, to vinyasa flow, to cuddle yoga.
Right next to the yoga tent was the Shaman Sound Sessions with Nico. Crystals were placed around the participant as he/she laid down. Nico then proceeded to use the rhythm of a drum to heal the participant. I wasn’t able to part-take in this or stay long enough to observe what fully occurred during each session but I will say it did look extremely soothing.
There were many interesting workshops offered too. There were classes on experiencing true transformation, shamballa healing, hooping, hooking up without hang-ups, and more. Some classes were in high demand so they repeated in the following day so that everyone had a chance to go. One of the most in demand and intriguing workshops was the sound healing. Everyone gathered around the dome, laid on the floor, closed their eyes and listened to the relaxing sounds. Time flies when you are at peace.
Desert Hearts stayed true to their promise of 72 hours of non-stop techno. The musical roster included Super Flu, Butch, Joyce Muniz, Dance Spirit, DJ Harvey, the Desert Hearts crew and many more. There was one stage only, as it has always been in the past. This is intended so that everyone remains connected as both one force and one family. Everything was carefully curated to hold true to the Desert Hearts mantra, “We are all Desert Hearts.”
It’s difficult to only spotlight select artists because each set brought such a strong and positive energy to the dance floor. At night, the dance floor was packed with attendees dancing the weekend away. If people weren’t on the dance floor, they were either dancing with their friends on the speakers or dancing on stage behind the artists. The sound system was perfect for the festival. Not once was the music too low. It echoed throughout the festival grounds so that no matter where you camped, even in the parking lot, you could always hear the music. In a way in made it so that you never left the stage.
On Friday night going into Saturday, Joyce Muniz heated up a packed dance floor. Following her was supposed to be a much anticipated live set from Extrawelt. They were going to use vintage analog equipment for their performance. Unfortunately, due to a miscommunication issue, they were not able to play. Dance Spirit rang in Saturday with their refreshing sunrise set. Sunrise sets aren’t for the weak of heart. They are for the hardcore attendees. The majority of these people have been dancing all night so sunrise sets are meant to provide a softer and steady groove to enter the day. Dance Spirit did just that. Their set had me feeling like I was driving down PCH on a sunny day with my windows down and the wind in my hair. At noon, DJ Harvey took the decks and gave us a little disco. Jozif was up next and he coordinated his set with a fashion show that took place on the dance floor. The fashion show captured all the creative festival outfits that people enjoy putting together. Shortly following the fashion show, there was also a wine and cheese party on the dance floor.
*photo by Lily Colovic
From late Saturday afternoon into the evening, the Desert Hearts crew consisting of Mikey Lion, Deep Jesus, Lee Reynolds, Marbs, and Porkchop dominated the stage with 2-hour set each. Justin Campbell and Sabo provided the Sunday morning tunes. Both delivered amazing sets that were spot-on for daytime dance floor fun.
By the time Super Flu came on, the attendees were rested up and ready to pack the dance floor again. It remained full from there on out, especially since it was the last night. We had to get back to reality so we couldn’t stay for all of Sunday night but from many recounts I have heard and read, Lonely Boy, Fritz Carlton, and Treavor Moontribe all delivered sets that made the last night unforgettable.
Article by Dominica Murillo
Photos by Dominica Murillo and Lily Colovic